Orrery – London
We celebrated Easter with lunch at the Orrery, a restaurant situated on top of a Conran Shop on Marylebone High Street and highly recommended by good friends of ours. Why anyone would name an eatery after a mechanical device modeling the solar system is lost on me, but the decor, with its large round windows resembling humongous portholes, is not. We arrived at 12pm sharp and, as usual, found ourselves to be the only people there until about an hour later. Again, we had the wait staff’s undivided attention for some time.
Celeriac Veloute with Apple Cappucino and Parmesan Gougere with Mornay Sauce was the requisite amuse bouche.
Confit Duck and Foie Gras Ravioli, Madeira Consommé. The broth was salted a little too liberally for my taste but was saved by the flavors of early spring chervil and tarragon.
Parfait of Foie Gras Madeira Jelly. Given the description, I half expected this to be served in a glass. It’s as good as foie gras goes.
Sea Bass, Citrus Fruits, Orange Beurre Blanc. A study in contrasts. The sauce was delicate enough not to overpower the fish, but one bite of the lemon segment had me wincing into a sour face. As a side note, I don’t see tourneed potatoes very often nowadays, but I remember shaping these seven sided little footballs was one of the most difficult techniques to master at cooking school. Each time I see them on a plate, I think of some poor garde manger with stiff fingers slaving away in the kitchen.
Rhubarb Jelly, Vanilla Foam, Apple Granite as pre-dessert. Take two. How uncanny to have this as a pre-dessert two meals in a row.
Pistachio Sponge, Poached Prunes, Fromage Frais Sorbet for dessert.
Blackberry Souffle, Sour Cream Sorbet. The soufflé arrived precariously leaning on one side like the Tower of Pisa. Good thing it didn’t collapse before I could stick my spoon in.
At £25, I thought their three-course prix fixe lunch was great value considering:
a) It was a holiday and most restaurants usually jack up the price with a special menu.
b) The selections were quite sophisticated, and the ingredients were not inexpensive (i.e. foie gras in some shape or form)
c) There was an amuse bouche and a pre-dessert included — that’s really two extra courses right there.